Too early to celebrate decline in India's COVID graph as TPR remains above 21 per cent

Express News Service
NEW DELHI:  A fall inactive Covid-19 cases in India for the last two consecutive days after two difficult months have come as a breather for the pandemic-ravaged country.

But a closer look at the numbers reveals that it may be too early to start celebrating. Country’s Covid-19 test positivity rate, a crucial indicator to assess the pandemic progression, shows only a marginal drop of less than 1% over the past seven days, as compared to the previous week.

On Monday, the country, after a gap of 61 days, recorded for the first time a drop of more than 31,000 cases in the total active numbers. 

This fall also continued on Tuesday and went further down by 11,122 over the last 24 hours settling at 3,70,4099 on Wednesday morning.

The hope that the raging viral disease is slowing down was also propagated by the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday which announced that 18 states have started to show either decline or plateauing of fresh infections.

Experts, however, warned that there is a need to remain cautious despite the disease graphs showing a positive sign on paper.

“There are three reasons for this,” said epidemiologist Jammi N Rao.

“First, it is unlikely that case numbers would start to fall so soon after a lockdown and that assumes a very widespread and near-total lockdown, and we know that India has had at best a series of partial lockdowns.”

The second reason for caution in interpreting the drop in numbers as “the beginning of the end” is that the test positivity rate is not coming down, he stressed.

“Thirdly, we may be missing cases altogether in semi-rural and rural areas,” Rao added.

What Rao suspects is confirmed by statistics which shows that between April 28-May 4, the weekly test positivity rate was a whopping 21.96% which fell by just 0.95% to settle at 21.01% between May 5-11.

This is, however, the only week, since the last 6 weeks when the weekly TPR has shown even a slight fall.

But say those watching the numbers closely, this figure has to be watched carefully over the next few weeks before a ray of hope can be anticipated.